Race, the Spirit of Franco

Featured at the 1978 Berlin and Edinburgh Film Festivals, this film by the young Catalan director Gonzalo Herralde resembles Dusan Makavejev's Innocence Unprotected in its instructive, and often quite funny, juxtaposition of a naive melodrama of the early forties with interview material shot today with survivors of the original production. What makes this film so extraordinary is the fact that the unearthed melodrama is a 1942 production entitled Race, an idealised version of a heroic Spanish family scripted and supervised by Franco himself! Aside from the interviews with actor Alfredo Mayo, who played the hero in Race, Herralde's film contains an absolutely fascinating portrait/interview of Franco's sister Pilar, who displays what Herralde calls “an enormous capacity for filling the screen... an instinctive sense for film and filmmaking,” and whose candid reminiscences of Franco's childhood experiences contribute to a clear understanding of the dictator's personal path to Fascism.

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